VenueWalter Reade Theater
Berlanga’s first collaboration with screenwriter Rafael Azcona was a jet-black comedy that was originally entitled Seat a Poor Person at Your Dinner Table before the film ran afoul of the censors. Plácido González, played by the great Catalan comedian Cassen, uses his tricycle to deliver fruit baskets for a local charity while trying to figure out how he can come up with the money to stave off debts. A bevy of local society women decides to take in beggars and other unfortunates, although they soon discover more about the objects of their charity than they’d like to know. Berlanga takes aim at the false piety on display, as acts of generosity are revealed to be little more than events on a social calendar. Hilarious situations and unexpected reversals abound, yet all the laughter can’t cover up the strong sense of outrage that courses through the film.